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Bridgeford v. The Salvation Army

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

January 10, 2018

ALLEN BRIDGEFORD JR., Plaintiff,
v.
THE SALVATION ARMY, JOHN VAN ZEE, ELMER GAMBLE, and DEANNA RIFE, Defendants.

          OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court on the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Complaint (d/e 11) filed by Defendants The Salvation Army, John Van Zee, Elmer Gamble, and Deanna Rife. The Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The individual Defendants are dismissed without prejudice. The claims remain pending against The Salvation Army. In addition, the Court RECONSIDERS Plaintiffs request for the appointment of counsel. The Court will attempt to recruit counsel to represent Plaintiff.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In August 2017, Plaintiff Allen Bridgeford Jr., proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint alleging that Defendants discharged him from his employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The Court found Plaintiff indigent and granted him leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Complaint and attachments contain the following allegations and information.

         Defendant terminated Plaintiff from his employment as a truck driver on August 9, 2016. Van Zee was Plaintiffs immediate supervisor. Plaintiff identifies Gamble as an administrator and Rife as a store supervisor.

         On August 10, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination against The Salvation Army with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (Department) under Charge No. 2017SA0247 (the Charge). The Charge was cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Charge No. 21BA61924. Plaintiff alleged he was discriminated against on the basis of his age (56) and his race (Black).

         On May 16, 2017, the Department issued a Notice of Dismissal for Lack of Substantial Evidence.[1] The Notice advised Plaintiff that, if he disagreed with the decision, he could seek review before the Illinois Human Rights Commission (Commission) or commence a civil action in the appropriate state circuit court within 90 days after receipt of the Notice.

         On August 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of the Notice of Dismissal. On August 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit alleging that he was discharged in violation of Title VII and the ADEA.

         In October 2017, Defendants filed their Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. Plaintiff has not filed a response.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of Boone, Ill., 483 F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim for relief, a plaintiff need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing she is entitled to relief and giving the defendants fair notice of the claims. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

         When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and construing all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs favor. Id. However, the complaint must set forth facts that plausibly demonstrate a claim for relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). A plausible claim is one that alleges factual content from which the Court can reasonably infer that the defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants assert that the Complaint must be dismissed because (1) Plaintiffs claims are barred by 775 ILCS 5/7A-102(D)(3) because Plaintiff chose to pursue his claims in the Commission when he filed a request for review; (2) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before the EEOC and, therefore, the lawsuit is premature; and (3) the individual Defendants cannot be ...


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